• Publisher: Harper Wave (May 2, 2017)
A heart-wrenching, yet hopeful, memoir of a young marriage that is redefined by mental illness and affirms the power of love.
Mark and Giulia’s life together began as a storybook romance. They fell in love at eighteen, married at twenty-four, and were living their dream life in San Francisco. When Giulia was twenty-seven, she suffered a terrifying and unexpected psychotic break that landed her in the psych ward for nearly a month. One day she was vibrant and well-adjusted; the next she was delusional and suicidal, convinced that her loved ones were not safe.
Eventually, Giulia fully recovered, and the couple had a son. But, soon after Jonas was born, Giulia had another breakdown, and then a third a few years after that. Pushed to the edge of the abyss, everything the couple had once taken for granted was upended.
A story of the fragility of the mind, and the tenacity of the human spirit, My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward is, above all, a love story that raises profound questions: How do we care for the people we love? What and who do we live for? Breathtaking in its candor, radiant with compassion, and written with dazzling lyricism, Lukach’s is an intensely personal odyssey through the harrowing years of his wife’s mental illness, anchored by an abiding devotion to family that will affirm readers’ faith in the power of love.
About Mark LukachMark Lukach is a teacher and freelance writer. His work has been published in the New York Times, the Atlantic, Pacific Standard, Wired, and other publications. He is currently the ninth-grade dean at the Athenian School, where he also teaches history. He lives with his wife, Giulia, and their son, Jonas, in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Find out more about Mark at his website, and connect with him on Facebook and Instagram.
I can't begin to explain just how excited I am to review this book and tell you all about it.
Let me start by saying that I picked the book up to read, and couldn't put it down, so much so that within two days I was finished.
As a mother of an 18 year old daughter who suffers with anxiety and depression, mental illness is something I am very interested in and curious about. It's harder for someone like myself, who doesn't have to deal with it and never been afflicted by it, to understand exactly what goes on in her mind or anyone's mind for that matter.
This book is a memoir written by Mark Lukach, about his life as the husband of a beautiful woman suffering with mental illness, more specifically having psychotic episodes that seem to be brought on by nothing in particular.
Mark and his wife Giulia have gone through a really tough time. They met at 18, fell in love, got married at 24 years old and had the whole world at their fingertips. Then one day when Giulia was 26 their entire world came crashing down when she suffered an unexpected psychotic breakdown and ended up being admitted to a psych ward for nearly a month.
What I loved about this book is that we get an inside glimpse at what it's really like, not only for the person going through the breakdown but for the family who is left completely clueless, filled with questions and confused. Life stopped for this young couple, both for Giulia and Mark, he had to take a 3 month leave from his job to take care of her.
After a couple months, Giulia recovered and soon after that the couple had a son, and unfortunately soon after that she suffered another psychotic break and then yet another a couple years after that.
The marriage was put to the test and we get to see this play out through Mark's eyes. I felt so bad for him at times, and for Giulia as well especially since it didn't seem like the doctors could figure out exactly why she kept having these episodes or what was leading her to them.
It was a little scary reading about her psychotic episodes, the things she said, the way she acted. It definitely makes you stop and think about how incredible our minds are and just how easily it is for it all to come tumbling down.
The first time it happened, Giulia had just started a new job and everything was great, but suddenly she began flooding Mark with emails about every single decision she made, she was in a panic and wanted him to help her. Then she started talking about how the devil was torturing her and talking to her.
I found myself rooting for this couple to pull through, for Giulia to get better, for Mark not to fall apart. It was a journey, ups and downs, scary moments and happy moments of joy. I related to Mark so much in some things, especially when it comes to your loved one doing well and seemingly being back to normal but always scared and waiting for the next shoe to drop.
If you don't read any other book this year, please, please do me a favor and get yourself a copy of My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward. It will change your life, it will bring a new understanding to mental illness and it will also renew your belief in the power of love.
What a brilliant story, thank you Mark for taking us along and giving us an inside glimpse at your life, I know it can't have been easy going through it, but it will help so many people who are lucky enough to read it.
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Friday, May 5th: Tina Says…
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